Free Markets, Free People

Bruce McQuain

Windpower: Danes out while US has new plans to extend endangered species kill license for 30 years

Denmark is abandoning wind power.  Up till now, Danes had been paying very high energy bills, 66% of the bill being “green taxes” and only 15% going to energy generation.  Under pressure from Danes, who enjoy the highest energy prices in Europe, Danish politicians are abandoning wind power as “too expensive”:

Denmark’s government abandoned plans to build five offshore wind power farms Friday amid fears the electricity produced there would become too expensive for Danish consumers.

“Since 2012 when we reached the political agreement, the cost of our renewable policy has increased dramatically,” said Climate Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt, a Liberal Party politician representing the country’s minority government, according to Reuters.

The government would have had to pay $10.63 billion to buy electricity from the five wind farms — a price deemed too expensive for consumers who already face the highest electricity prices in Europe.

“We can’t accept this, as the private sector and households are paying far too much. Denmark’s renewable policy has turned out to be too expensive,” Lilleholt said.

Imagine that.  The fact that “renewable energy” forms have been installed doesn’t equal “cheap energy” (much like ObamaCare doesn’t mean “cheap insurance”, even though you were led to believe it would).  And all of them have required some sort of subsidy to survive – which means they’re obviously not self-sufficient (that meaning that they can’t produce a product at a price that consumers are willing to pay and make enough profit to ensure their continued production).  In fact, I’m having a very rough time finding any “renewable” source of energy that is self-sufficient.

Of course, the reason for the emergence of “green” and “renewable” energy sources is the “global warming” scam.  That scam allows the environmental extremist agenda full run with your money.  And this, so far, has been the result (don’t forget Spain).

Meanwhile, in the US, we’re apparently going to continue with the fiasco and while we’re at it, kill more endangered species by extending the license to kill them that wind farms already have to 30 years:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency charged with protecting bald and golden eagles, is once again trying to make it easier for the wind industry to kill those birds.

Two weeks ago the agency opened public comment on “proposed improvements” to its eagle conservation program. It wants to extend the length of permits for accidental eagle kills from the current five years to 30 years. The changes would allow wind-energy producers to kill or injure as many as 4,200 bald eagles every year. That’s a lot. The agency estimates there are now about 72,434 bald eagles in the continental U.S.

And the media, which will make sure to run the picture of an oil soaked bird above the fold on page one and in the lead on newscasts, is not interested in this story at all.  As for the enviros? Well, much like the so-called feminists were willing to remain silent about Bill Clinton’s sexual abuse of women, they must also have malleable principles that allow them to sanction at least 4,200 chopped up bald eagles a year for the sake of “green energy”.

~McQ

The Alarmists try RICO, the “deniers” counter with SLAPP

I’m sure you’ve been following this bizarre story about the left’s attempt, through various blue Attorney’s General, to use the RICO statute to persecute prosecute so-called “climate deniers”.  One of the targets was the Competitive Enterprise Institute.  CEI wasn’t going to take it lying down and punched back:

A libertarian nonprofit group is seeking damages from the U.S. Virgin Islands’ chief law enforcement officer, alleging a politically motivated legal campaign designed to stifle the group’s policy advocacy activities.

Attorneys representing the Competitive Enterprise Institute filed a motion in a Washington, D.C. court on Monday alleging that Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker violated a D.C. law designed to prevent frivolous legal actions targeting policy groups’ rights to free speech and government redress.

The motion is the latest chapter in a developing legal battle between conservative and industry groups that oppose Democratic attorneys general in 17 states who are pursuing racketeering charges against oil giant Exxon Mobil.

Walker subpoenaed CEI last month as part of the anti-Exxon campaign. He demanded a decade’s worth of internal documents and communications about the group’s work on energy and environmental policy.

CEI told Walker to stuff it and shot back:

Andrew Grossman, a BakerHostetler attorney representing CEI, called the subpoena “offensive,” “unlawful,” and “un-American” in an April reply. He vowed to fight the subpoena, which was filed in D.C., where CEI is headquartered.

An attorney representing a group of AGs, including Walker, in their Exxon probe replied on Friday, telling CEI that it is abandoning its subpoena but reserving the right to restart the effort at any point in the future.In response, Grossman and his BakerHostetler colleague David Rivkin filed a motion to vacate the subpoena entirely. They are also asking the court to reimburse CEI for its legal fees and levy additional penalties on Walker’s office as a means of discouraging abuses of the D.C. legal system.

Walker’s “bad faith purpose in wielding this Court’s power to subpoena … warrants sanctions,” the attorneys wrote in a Monday motion. “Sanctions are necessary here ‘to punish abuses of the judicial process and to deter future abuses,’” they wrote, quoting a prior case involving D.C.’s anti-SLAPP statute.

The acronym SLAPP stands for “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” and refers to efforts to shut down an opposing party’s speech or political advocacy through frivolous lawsuits.

This is what has to be done to stop this foolishness.  All it costs the AG is your tax money.  So, in reality, it cost them nothing.  But the people or organizations they target actually end up having to reach deeply into their own pockets to defend themselves from these frivolous lawsuits.

Here’s hoping CEI is able to whack this nonsense in the head quickly.  As their attorney said, it’s “offensive”, “unlawful” and “un-American.”  It is also an obnoxious and obvious abuse of power.  Time to reel this bunch ideological hitmen back in and do quickly.  And it wouldn’t hurt at all if the lawsuit found some of the AG’s personally responsible and made them pay fines out of their own fund for the abuse of their office (not that it will happen … I understand that, but I guy can wish).  Short of that, running them out of office will suffice.

~McQ

The left wants so badly for socialism to work

And that’s why they were so enamored of Venezuela.  All the leftist illuminati waxed on and on about how Hugo Chavez was a champion of the people and how he was working an “economic miracle” there, as illustrated by the 2013 Salon article by David Sirota.  In it Sirota gloats about how wrong the right is concerning Venezuela.  Headlined “Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle”, the sub-headline on the piece is classic:”The Venezuelan leader was often marginalized as a radical. But his brand of socialism achieved real economic gains.”

In light of Venezuela’s imminent collapse, I’m sure Sirota is cringing today.  As usual, the “economic miracle” Chavez had wrought under his brand of socialism worked swimmingly until they ran out of other people’s money.  Then, well, same crap, different regime.

I had to laugh, in particular, at this paragraph from “gloaty-boy”:

When a country goes socialist and it craters, it is laughed off as a harmless and forgettable cautionary tale about the perils of command economics. When, by contrast, a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela’s did, it is not perceived to be a laughing matter – and it is not so easy to write off or to ignore. It suddenly looks like a threat to the corporate capitalism, especially when said country has valuable oil resources that global powerhouses like the United States rely on.

Well, laughed at his silliness or is it perhaps willful ignorance in not understanding, even when he was calling Chavez’s Venezuela an “economic miracle” what was really going on there.  No one is laughing at the purely predictable and lamentable problems the citizens of Venezuela are going through now because of Chavez.  He sold them a bill of goods and now they’re suffering the consequences.

What’s frustrating though is the useful idiots like Sirota and gang who won’t take the time to learn why socialism doesn’t work and certainly won’t look too deeply into any regime, such as Chavez’s, that shows the possibility of their long held dream of collectivism and central planning working.

If, in fact, they’d do that, there wouldn’t be guys like me, 3 years after the fact, pointing a finger at them and laughing at something they wrote about an economy that was doomed from the beginning.  As most of us noted at the time of the Chavez takeover, it wasn’t a matter of “if” his plan would fail, but “when”.  “When” is now.

Look at the video and the pictures, Mr. Sirota.  They’re not pretty.  They’re not pretty at all.

How does it feel to have been a cheerleader for the kind of desperation and chaos Chavez’s “miracle” has brought?  How does it feel to have wished a stable and thriving nation (it had its problems, but nothing even close to those now) into the state it now endures?  And tell me again why Chavez’s daughter is worth 4 billion?

You must be so proud.

~McQ

Stray Voltage

Is it Friday already?  Why, yes, yes it is.

So, on with the show.  Our first “Gee, I told you so” of the day comes from the fast food chain, Wendys:

Self-service kiosks will be made available to the more than 6,000 Wendy’s franchises in the United States, the company announced on Thursday. Individual restaurant managers will decide whether to install them as an alternative to having human beings take customers’ orders.

According to Investors Business Daily, which reported the news, Wendy’s executives said the decision was driven by a tight labor market and higher minimum wages in many states.

After all, a computer kiosk doesn’t need to be paid $15 an hour to take orders.

Wendy’s President Todd Penegor told IBD that franchise locations have been raising prices to offset wage hikes and said the company is wary about both wage hikes and a possible recovery in commodity prices and is “working so hard to find efficiencies.”

McDonald’s is also experimenting with self-service kiosks. Wendy’s might also introduce mobile ordering and payment systems next year, according to IBD.

A kiosk also needs no days off, sick leave, paternity leave, benefits or wage hikes.  And note the last line – Mickey D is also in the kiosk business (I’ve seen a few there myself).

Of course to anyone with common sense and a basic understanding of economics (you know, like labor is a “cost” to business) this comes as no surprise.  To the “feel the Bern” crowd, and many on the left who lack both of those qualities, this is an “outrage”!

Meh.  It’s kind of like ObamaCare insurance – you may have it, but if doctors won’t accept it, it’s not much use to you is it?  Same with $15 an hour times zero hours.

Meanwhile in academia, the stronghold of bureaucratic authoritarians, it seems they look for any opportunity to ban an action unilaterally for no other reason than they fear someone’s feelings (other than those effected by the ban, of course) will possibly be hurt:

Face painting at an Illinois college has been banned because it’s “cultural appropriation,” dontchya know? There’s just one problem: Which culture?

Because it’s the latest thing to be offended by, officials at Millikin University in Decatur have told a fraternity that they can’t wear face or body paint, or wigs because they might “depict an ethnicity or culture.”

The fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon, traditionally puts on body and face paint during an annual recruitment for new members, CampusReform is reporting.

Yup, my blue-faced, bare assed Scots ancestors would surely be offended.  Oh, wait, they’re white aren’t they?  Never mind:

“Millikin University is committed to fostering a community of inclusiveness that respects difference amongst all students,” Nicki Rowlett, assistant director of the Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement, writes in a letter on the issue. “It is my hope that the men of [Tau Kappa Epsilon] utilize this as an educational opportunity to explore the concept of intent vs. impact with regard to cultural appropriation.”

“Members [of the fraternity] are prohibited from wearing black and red paint, wigs and/or clothing items that mimic or depict an ethnicity or culture,” she writes. “Failure to comply with the expectation will result in immediate removal from the event and additional student conduct sanctions.”

Prohibited by some small-time bureaucrat with the jumped up title of “Assistant Director/Greek Advisor, Office of Student Inclusion and Engagement”.

Her words are quite “inclusive” and just ooze “student engagement” don’t they – in a petty, dictatorial way.  “Off with the face paint. The mighty Nichole has spoken!”

What a farce.

Apparently it is no longer about the “country” in politics, but instead, the party:

In 1960, 5% of Republicans and 4% of Democrats said that they would feel “displeased” if their son or daughter married outside their political party. By 2010, those numbers skyrocketed: to 49% and 33%, respectively. We’re probably not yet at the point where Republicans would be more upset if their child married a Democrat than someone of the same sex — but we are heading in that direction.

I’m sure you’ve all noticed how party politics seems to eclipse what is really important about where we’re headed.  It’s all about winning now and it’s all about the party winning.  I’ve been asking for years, “where did all the statesmen go”.  We’ll we drove them off with the anal exams and the insistence that the party deliver certain things whether or not they were good for the country or not.

That has gotten decidedly worse over the intervening decades to the point that we’re now governed by the worst political class I’ve ever seen in my lifetime and we’re stuck with the inevitable candidates that system was bound to finally produce.

Enjoy!

Speaking of our political class (or lack thereof), there’s a book coming out supposedly written anonymously by a sitting member of Congress (purportedly a Democrat) who uses that anonymity to tell the “truth” about what happens there, like:

  • “Most of my colleagues are dishonest career politicians who revel in the power and special-interest money that’s lavished upon them.”
  • “My main job is to keep my job, to get reelected. It takes precedence over everything.”
  • “Fundraising is so time consuming I seldom read any bills I vote on. Like many of my colleagues, I don’t know how the legislation will be implemented, or what it’ll cost.”

Those three quotes might shock someone but it was simply an affirmation for me.  We’ve seen this for years and years and have done absolutely nothing but re-elect these crooks.  And they know they’ll bet re-elected because they haven’t underestimated their esteemed constituents/voters one bit:

  • “The average man on the street actually thinks he influences how I vote. Unless it’s a hot-button issue, his thoughts are generally meaningless. I’ll politely listen, but I follow the money.”
  • “Voters are incredibly ignorant and know little about our form of government and how it works.”
  • “It’s far easier than you think to manipulate a nation of naive, self-absorbed sheep who crave instant gratification.”

Yes, he (or she) is saying exactly what many of us have known for years – this government and those who run it are a product of the voting public – one which has no use for freedom and no time to monitor and overwatch those they put in positions of power.  Result?  A huge but visibly declining banana republic.

Finally, the transgender nonsense the government seems bound and determined to cram down everyone’s throats.  Is it a real “civil rights” dilemma or is it a mental health issue?

Frankly, I go with the latter.  Here’s why:

There are several reasons for this absence of coherence in our mental health system. Important among them is the fact that both the state and federal governments are actively seeking to block any treatments that can be construed as challenging the assumptions and choices of transgendered youngsters. “As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama.

In two states, a doctor who would look into the psychological history of a transgendered boy or girl in search of a resolvable conflict could lose his or her license to practice medicine. By contrast, such a physician would not be penalized if he or she started such a patient on hormones that would block puberty and might stunt growth.

What is needed now is public clamor for coherent science—biological and therapeutic science—examining the real effects of these efforts to “support” transgendering. Although much is made of a rare “intersex” individual, no evidence supports the claim that people such as Bruce Jenner have a biological source for their transgender assumptions. Plenty of evidence demonstrates that with him and most others, transgendering is a psychological rather than a biological matter.

In fact, gender dysphoria—the official psychiatric term for feeling oneself to be of the opposite sex—belongs in the family of similarly disordered assumptions about the body, such as anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder. Its treatment should not be directed at the body as with surgery and hormones any more than one treats obesity-fearing anorexic patients with liposuction. The treatment should strive to correct the false, problematic nature of the assumption and to resolve the psychosocial conflicts provoking it. With youngsters, this is best done in family therapy.

Dr. Paul McHugh wrote that.  He also wrote this:

For forty years as the University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School—twenty-six of which were also spent as Psychiatrist in Chief of Johns Hopkins Hospital—I’ve been studying people who claim to be transgender. Over that time, I’ve watched the phenomenon change and expand in remarkable ways.

And this:

 Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All (including Bruce Jenner) become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they “identify.” In that lies their problematic future.

That’s the root of the problem.  It has now become politicized and is a political football for a radical agenda and the government is attempting to satisfy this radical minority (and I don’t necessarily mean the “transgendered”) by imposing that agenda by force.

Me?  I’ll go with McHugh and science.

Have a good weekend!

~McQ

First shot in a successful Constitutional war against ObamaCare?

We can only hope so … but then, one should remember that John Roberts sold his soul and his intellectual reputation to make payment for it into a tax.  So we shall see.  But some heartening news today if you’re someone who believes those in government should be held to the Constitution’s restrictions on government.

In a major ruling, Judge Rosemary Collyer, an appointee of President George W. Bush, said the administration does not have the power to spend money on “cost sharing reduction payments” to insurers without an appropriation from Congress.

Collyer’s decision doesn’t immediately go into effect, however, so that the administration can appeal it.

“This is an historic win for the Constitution and the American people,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. “The court ruled that the administration overreached by spending taxpayer money without approval from the people’s representatives.”
At issue are billions of dollars paid to insurance companies participating in ObamaCare so they can reduce customers’ out-of-pocket costs, such as deductibles for low-income people.

The House GOP argued that the administration was unconstitutionally spending money on these payments without Congress’s approval.

Of course that’s an almost daily occurrence for the past few decades.  The lines have blurred and no one is held accountable. Oversight? What a joke.

How far this will go and whether the decision will be upheld is a mystery at this point, but not much of one … see again the first sentence.

The administration, of course, had an answer:

But the administration said it did not need an appropriation from Congress because the funds were already guaranteed by the healthcare reform law in the same section as its better-known tax credits that help people pay for coverage.

Yup, the executive needs no permission to spend your money anymore, just as he or she no longer needs permission to wage war.  Blurred lines becoming even blurrier.  Separation of powers?  Get real.

Imperial presidency?  For quite a while.  The Judge, though, wasn’t buying the explanation:

Collyer ruled that the section only appropriated funds for tax credits and said the cost sharing reductions require a separate congressional appropriation, which the administration does not currently have.

“Such an appropriation cannot be inferred,” Collyer wrote. “None of Secretaries’ extra-textual arguments — whether based on economics, ‘unintended’ results, or legislative history — is persuasive. The Court will enter judgment in favor of the House of Representatives and enjoin the use of unappropriated monies to fund reimbursements due to insurers under Section 1402.”

Good for her. It won’t dismantle the dreadful system, but it does take another chink out of its funding. It’s a start.  But whether the start will later faulter and fail to be upheld is still to be seen.  In today’s world, unfortunately, the likelihood of that sort of a failure is much more prevalent than had this ruling come down 40 or 50 years ago when most people still believed in a much more limited government constrained by the Constitution.

Brave new world … one that promises to be much like the old and oppressive world if some have their way.

~McQ

Is Europe moving away from “Social Democracy”?

The “Feel the Bern” gang want to be just like the European social democracies, but as I’ve pointed out before, if any of the European countries were a state in the US, they’d be among the bottom two or so.  And while the benefits are wonderful when you’re living off of other people’s productivity, that can only go on for so long.

France … yes, that’s right, France … seems to be at least figuring it out a little bit.

The French cabinet has given the go-ahead for Prime Minister Manuel Valls to force through highly controversial labour reforms.

An extraordinary cabinet meeting invoked the French constitution’s rarely used Article 49.3, allowing the government to bypass parliament.It came after rebel MPs from the governing Socialist party had vowed to vote down the bill.The reforms will make it easier for employers to hire and fire workers.

[…]

The government says relaxing workers’ protection will encourage businesses to hire more people and help to combat chronic unemployment.

As one is prone to say, “baby steps” are necessary when learning to walk.  And apparently those old nasty laws of economics are finally bitch slapping France enough that they’re at least willing to do something positive to help stimulate business and hopefully then grow their economy.

The American Interest notes:

Valls’ decision is part of a long-running trend: For decades, the decline of the blue social model has been pushing many European countries, including ones we think of as social democracies, to abandon some of the more statist features of their economic agendas. Policies that worked relatively well in closed, stable, national economies of the mid-20th century fail to deliver in the open, dynamic economies of the 21st—and even center-left governments are forced to adapt to this reality once they take power.

Indeed, the “blue social model”, the Bernie Sanders (and to a slightly lesser extent, the Hillary Clinton) model, is, in fact, been running off the rails and not at all delivering what it has promised.  But that seems to be the case with all blue social models and their components (ObamaCare anyone?).

Of course the trending away from that model is being roundly ignored by the left in the US.  Just as the economic wrecks that are Cuba and Venezuela are blamed on “extenuating circumstances.”

The left will never face the reality of their utopian central control’s failure everywhere and in whatever flavor it is tried.  There’s a reason for that.  It goes against everything that actually works.  Without “perfect knowledge” and then the means to implement it in a direct and timely fashion – two things which will never be achieved – it will always fail.  Most importantly, central control simply runs against human nature and therefore authoritarian governance to impose true socialism on the citizens.  And yes, the light form of that is indeed “social democracy” but to become anymore “socialist” requires government to move in a more authoritarian way to enable those sorts of “reforms”.  Instead, what you see in Europe is resistance coupled with a realization that this just isn’t working as advertised.

Thus the “trend” as discussed.  As more of the blue model is scrapped and countries begin to realize gains, other European countries will likely follow suit.

Meanwhile, in the US, we’re apparently considering adopting the model they’re moving away from.  And it certainly will be a rousing success.  They can’t make it work in countries with about one-eighth our population, but with the “competent” politicians and bureaucrats we have here, we’re sure to make it work.

Uh, huh.  Really.

~McQ

Stray Voltage

I’ve been having internet access problems this week and am awaiting a new router from my provider.  It is supposed to be here today, but the day continues to pass.  Ah, well, such is life.

Speaking of life, I noticed the other day that mention of David Duke and the KKK bobbed to the surface of the media cess pool.  No mention of this that I can find, however:

A prominent leader in the Ku Klux Klan said the group is officially endorsing Hillary Clinton for president and has already donated $20,000 to her campaign.

Klan leader Will Quigg told Vocativ over the weekend, “For the KKK, Clinton is our choice,” adding, “She is friends with the Klan,” Quigg said. “A lot of people don’t realize that. She’s friends with [the late] Senator [Robert] Byrd. He’s been an Exulted Cyclops in the Klan. He’s been King Kleagle.”

The West Virginia senator was the leader of his state’s Klan chapter in the 1940s, according to Vocativ. In 2005, he publicly disavowed his involvement in the KKK, saying it was wrong. Upon his death in 2010, Clinton described Byrd as a “friend and mentor.” Byrd was among the longest serving senators in the body’s history, holding his seat continuously from 1959 until his passing.

Indeed.  And, in fact, he sets the record straight about the Klan:

As for Clinton, “All the stuff she’s saying now, she’s saying so she can get into office, okay? She doesn’t care about illegal immigrants—she’s acting like she does so she can get into office. Once she’s in office, then she’ll implement her policies. She’s a Democrat. The Klan has always been a Democratic organization,” Quigg said.

It certainly has.

John Cleese of Monty Python fame lets us in on his opinion concerning political correctness.  He’s not a fan:

And that’s why I’ve been warned recently, don’t go to most university campuses because the political correctness has been taken from being a good idea — which is, let’s not be mean particularly to people who are not able to look after themselves very well, that’s a good idea — to the point where any kind of criticism of any individual or group can be labelled cruel.

And the whole point about humor, the whole point about comedy — and believe you me, I’ve thought about it — is that all comedy is critical. Even if you make a very inclusive joke — like, “How do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans” — that’s about the human condition, it’s not excluding anyone, it’s saying we all have all these plans that probably won’t come and isn’t it funny that we still believe they’re going to happen. So that’s a very inclusive joke, but it’s still critical.

All humor is critical. If we start saying, “oh, we mustn’t criticize or offend them,” then humor is gone, and with humor goes a sense of proportion, and then, as far as I’m concerned, you’re living in 1984.

Welcome to “1984”, John.

John McCain:

“If Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket, here in Arizona, with over 30 percent of the vote being the Hispanic vote, no doubt that this may be the race of my life,” McCain said, according to a recording of the event obtained by POLITICO. “If you listen or watch Hispanic media in the state and in the country, you will see that it is all anti-Trump. The Hispanic community is roused and angry in a way that I’ve never seen in 30 years.”

Translation: “If Trump’s the nominee, I’m screwed.”

The one and only good reason I’ve found so far for Trump to be the GOP’s nominee.

The meddling of government in the health insurance business is having the predicted results.  Insurers are now considering dropping the “bronze” coverage plans … you know the one’s with the lowest payments and the highest deductibles?  Guess who buys those?  Right … the young and healthy because government has, by force of law, required them to be insured.  So if the bronze plans go the way of the former “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” plans, what is then predictable?

If insurers do drop their bronze plans, it would have the effect of further destabilizing the marketplace, according to Sean Mullin, a senior director at Leavitt Partners. That’s because such enrollees, which tend to be lower-risk and want the cheapest plans, will likely leave the marketplace altogether, further depleting the exchanges’ share of healthier enrollees.

Because, you see, the fine will be cheaper than the available “silver” plans.

Brilliant.  Great job, Bammy.

Speaking of predicted, here’s another one:

Entry-level McDonald’s jobs will go to self-service kiosks rather than to humans under a $15 minimum wage, a former chief of the fast-food giant has warned.

In a guest article written on the Forbes site, former McDonald’s USA CEO Ed Rensi wrote that instituting a $15 minimum wage would mean “wiping out thousands of entry-level opportunities for people without many other options.”

Arguing that McDonald’s franchisees would not be able to absorb the additional labor costs that would come with a minimum wage of $15, Rensi suggested that the restaurant instead would turn to self-service kiosks to replace some employees. Customers don’t mind the kiosks and they have been successfully implemented in Europe, he said.

Watch the idiots who haven’t a clue about what are called the laws of economic blow a gasket when they discover that math too has laws, and $15 times 0 hours equals … $0.

Ah well, such is life.  Got my new router in while doing this and it makes all the difference in the world.  In fact, the speed test says I’m getting double the mps I was getting before.

At least for a moment, life is good!

Have a great weekend!

~McQ

So now what?

Now that it seems it will be Trump or Clinton – two sides of the same coin.  No.  Two of the same side of the coin.  What is America, you know the country that the Obama administration left badly listing to port and rudderless, going to do now with that … choice?

As I and many here have pointed out, it’s not the politicians fault that those are our choices, it’s the voter’s fault.  They do what is necessary to get elected and stay there – the voters enable both of those things.  And then don’t pay attention to what’s going on, become party bots and go to the polls to pull one lever or another … as instructed.

I’m also enjoying a bit of irony.  Mainly at the expense of those who, in the past, have always told me that a vote for a libertarian candidate or being not willing to vote for the prevailing GOP candidate is as good as a “vote for the other side”.  Now that it appears that Trump will be the GOP’s candidate, I’m hearing a completely different tune from many of them.

The GOP has been known for quite some time as the “stupid party” and that moniker seems quite accurate and appropriate at the moment.

As for the Democrats, well they have an equally disgusting choice as their candidate.  She’s a criminal and as big a con artist as is Donald Trump.  She is, in the parlance, a grifter.  She, like the joker in the Oval Office at the moment, has never accomplished a thing in her time of “public service”.  In fact, the only thing she has going for her right now is she’s a woman – for the first “woman president” vote.  Of course we’ve just suffered through almost 8 years of that sort of first and apparently the country has a masochistic streak that is yet unsatisfied.

I mean either one of these idiots is an abysmal “choice” so it is clear that if either is elected we’ll again be led poorly and ineptly right toward the abyss.

It’s the perfect ending for a once great republic – regardless of who wins, we’ll end up being led off the cliff by a NY liberal.  How … apropos.

In the meantime, the libertarian party’s membership is booming.  Of course those coming on board are no more libertarian than Donald Trump is conservative.  But then, its about the only reasonably agreeable and calm port the defectors can find in this political sh*t storm.

~McQ

Venezuela: How bad is it?

It’s bad:

Despite breathless coverage of Venezuela’s vanishing supply of condomstoilet paper, and beer, perhaps the country’s most debilitating shortage has been that of food, which appears to be a motivating factor for growing antigovernment sentiment.

“I want the recall because I don’t have food,” one woman told the Venezuelan commentary site Contrapunto, referring to a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro that has so far reportedly drawn more than a million signatures in support.

“We want out of this agony — there is too much need in the streets,” another woman told Contrapunto. “We have much pressure because there is no food and every day we have to ask ourselves what we are going to eat.”

Many families have been reduced to one meal a day.  In a verdant and rich country, this is what socialism has brought them too.

And the idiocracy in charge?  Well, they’re reduced to abjectly stupid moves like this in an attempt to forestall the inevitable:

To try to shore up wages, Maduro on Sunday announced a 30% minimum-wage increase, which comes after a 25% hike on March 1 and is the 33rd wage boost since 1999. Beginning this month, workers and pensioners will earn 15,051 bolivars a month — only about $13, based on the black-market conversion rate, according to El País.

That amount may become even more paltry. Venezuela’s inflation rate in 2015 was 180.9%, according to the central bank, and the International Monetary Fund expects inflation in the country to reach 720% this year.

The acquisition of food has become the primary function of Venezuelans:

“I have to leave the house at 5 a.m., facing the risk of being killed, to stand in line all day and only buy two or three products,” Jhonny Mendez said.

Do yourself a favor and look through the pictures of the amount of food several families have in their house in a day that accompany the above article..  

What has happened in Venezuela is criminal … there’s no other word for it.  Chavez was a criminal and his henchman now in charge is also a criminal.  What they’ve done to that country is unforgivable.  And it was all predictable … in fact, it was predicted.  I also have a feeling it isn’t going to end well:

Meanwhile, the return El Niño, a cyclical weather phenomenon, leads to widespread power outages across the country as the authorities’ incompetence and corruption are laid bare. 76 percent of Venezuelans have fallen into poverty and 13 percent eat only twice a day. Maduro’s government is rejected by 85 percent of the population.

Looting last week was contained but the Governor of Lara, Henri Falcón, a former Chavista, noted that “this is a thousand times worse than the reasons that led to the ‘Caracazo.’” He added that, at any moment, the political, social and economic crisis may lead to a conflict of incalculable consequences.

~McQ

“Pawternity” leave the next goal of the entitled generation

It seems, this week, that I’m all about proving Shark’s point that “every time I think we’ve reached peak stupid, something new comes along to prove me wrong.”  Well here you go, Shark, the shot:

Bringing my adopted cat, Jameson, home with me in 2014 was one of the happiest days of my life.

Having to go back to work two days later was one of the worst.

While the rest of the country is hung up on the necessity of maternity leave — or even the newly coined “meternity” — one group continues to be overlooked when it comes to paid time off from work: new pet owners.

“Paw-ternity” leave is already a reality in the UK — the US pet-insurance provider Petplan found that nearly 5 percent of new pet owners in the UK were offered time off to care for their four-legged kids. (Not surprisingly, the UK is also light-years ahead of the US when it comes to maternity leave, offering up to 39 weeks of paid leave for new mothers.)

It’s time for the US to hop aboard the “paw-ternity” train. It’s not just because I want to stay home and cuddle on the couch with my new feline (which I do). When I adopted Jameson, he was 6 years old and had spent the previous year of his life in an animal shelter. He was suffering from several health problems after being neglected by his previous owner — and was skittish, nervous and uncertain about why he was suddenly being transported to a strange new home.

And the chaser:

Many pet experts agree that new pet owners should try their best to clear their schedule for the first few days following a new animal’s arrival. Not only can pets benefit from the comfort of being cared for by a loving parent after spending time in an animal shelter, but they require attention to be properly housebroken and trained so they don’t become a public nuisance.

Dear silly young woman who seems to think her choices should be paid for by others.  If you want to stay home with your new pet, companies have a thing called “vacation days.” You might have heard of them.  That’s right, you’re paid and everything.  And it isn’t like you can’t plan this sort of thing out.  You know, “hey, I have 10 days of vacation saved and I want a new pet – perfect, I’ll take vacation and stay home with it”.   Then you can housebreak the little nipper and prevent it from becoming a public nuisance at the same time.  See how that works?

What doesn’t work is this sort of demand that others take up the slack and pay your for time off just because you’ve made a choice that has absolutely nothing to do with them or your work.

But we all know the real bottom line here.  The equating of pets with children gives the entrée into demanding the same sort of treatment that new mothers get.  Because, you know, going to the pet store and pointing to a cat in a cage is just the same as carrying a baby for 9 months and then bearing the child.  So let’s face the truth.  You want time with your pet but you don’t want to spend your vacation days to do that.

What does that make you?  Well mostly a spoiled and entitled child who will one day live in a ramshackle house with 100 cats, living on a pittance of Social Security (because you had difficulty holding on to work) and rail against the world for not giving you the time you demanded when you only had one.

~McQ